Pete Dye, the famed golf course designer responsible for the heralded 17th-hole island green at TPC Sawgrass, died Thursday at the age of 94, PGA of America announced.
A 2008 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Dye was responsible for designing some of the world's most famous golf courses, including Florida's TPC Sawgrass, Kiawah Island in South Carolina and Whistling Straits, the layout in Kohler, Wis., where the 2020 Ryder Cup will be played.
Suzy Whaley, president of PGA of America, paid tribute to Dye in a statement released Thursday.
"Pete Dye left an imprint on the world of golf that will be experienced for generations, painting wonderful pictures with the land that continue to inspire, entertain & challenge us," Whaley wrote. "The PGA is saddened by the passing of this dear friend of the PGA Professional. Pete & his late wife Alice formed the greatest force in golf design history. The Dye family will forever be linked to many of the thrilling championships in PGA history & for something that they intended all along -- that we embrace golf's life values."
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also released a statement that read in part, "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pete Dye, a true friend of the PGA TOUR and one of the most important course architects of this or any generation. ... He designed some of the best known golf courses in the world, though none more recognizable than THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. It was here that Pete masterfully brought Commissioner Deane Beman's revolutionary stadium golf concept to life, melding Deane's vision with a brilliantly designed course that is celebrated annually as one of the game's great strategic courses during THE PLAYERS Championship. ... Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Dye family."
Dye's wife Alice, who died on Feb. 1, 2019, was his partner in golf course design.
Born in Urbana, Ohio, in 1925, Dye was the son of an amateur golf course designer but became an accomplished player before following in his father's footsteps.
Among his tournaments were five U.S. Amateurs, a British Amateur and the 1957 U.S. Open, where he bettered Jack Nicklaus by eight strokes and finished in a tie with Arnold Palmer.
Nicklaus has previously said of Dye, via ESPN: "He changed the way we think about golf course design, and how design works ... Because of the attention that Pete Dye-designed courses have brought to the game, there are lots of people who are now able to make a living at golf course design. Me included."
Dye left the insurance business to become a golf course designer in the 1960s. He earned a number of industry honors, including the Old Tom Morris Award in 2003 from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the PGA Distinguished Service Award in 2004 and the PGA Tour's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Dye, probably speaking for a number of golf enthusiasts, once said, according to Golfweek, "The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody put a flagstick on top."
--Field Level Media